Formerly: Imagine yourself in an Edward Hopper painting, lounging in the yellow light, dangling a glass of red wine or a martini at your fingertips over a shiny diner tabletop. Take away the layer of sadness and eerie mystery that the images conjure, replace it with an air of theatricality and you have The Black Orchid Supper Club.
An escalator ride up from The Second City inside Piper's Alley takes you back a half-century to the 1930s and '40s when art deco was in full swing. Modeled after downtown's original supper club of the same name, this Old Town venue is barely five years old. Unfortunately, true revues, replete with an 18-piece band, a jazz singer, fan dancers and a dinner bundled together in an $85 package, only happen a few times a year around traditionally romantic holidays like New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. The majority of hosted events are private occasions including weddings and company socials with upscale food prepared by an in-house chef; the mid-sized venue seats 150-300 people at your choice of round or rectangular tables. Otherwise, the show nights generally showcase jazz headliners like Diana Krall, Jimmy Webb or Rita Moreno and Second City performances. There is no regular calendar, so call the club for information about upcoming events.
If you chance to make a visit, snuggle up to the couch that lines the wall of dark wood paneling, beneath gilded ceiling decor and large framed black and white photographs of Count Basie and Cab Calloway. On casual event nights it offers a full menu of classic Chicago foods like mozzarella sticks, hot pretzels and cheese fries, pop and ginger ale, and hors d'oeuvres and dessert platters are available for purchase on special concert nights. Skip the cups of beer and glasses of wine and splurge for a $9 Black Orchid martini, a simply elegant straight up glass of chilled Absolut garnished with Chambord.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jessica Herman